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The best part about childhood is the ability to put your mind to, and get enjoyment out of the biggest or the smallest activities. However, with all the new technology that’s in our modern lives, we often forget to enjoy the simple pleasures in life like connecting with nature, or using our imagination to transport us to a faraway land. That’s why we’ve put together this list to help you get away from the TV, and enjoy some quality time with the kids.

 

 

Play Dress Up

Dressing up in fancy dress costumes is an amazing way for you, your children and all their friends to enter into a world of imagination and enjoy their very own adventure to anywhere. You can buy your kids costumes from a shop, or simply fashion your own depending on how everyone decides to dress. You can give them themes, storylines or even books to re-enact or simply let them run wild and make up their very own characters and story. You could even record it and let them create their own TV show by recreating the same characters next time.

Go on a photo Scavenger Hunt

What better way to help your child truly appreciate nature than by creating a photo scavenger hunt? Simply create a list of 10-15 places for your little photographer to locate and capture within the local area – think of local landmarks or nature points – and wander round with them as they enjoy finding and photographing the world around in all its glory.

 

 

“The driveway or pavement offer a huge and seemingly endless canvas for your children to draw away to their hearts content”.

Chalk design on the floor

We all remember drawing massive chalk murals on the floor as a child. So why not let our children do the same? The driveway or pavement offer a huge and seemingly endless canvas for your children to draw away to their hearts content, and is an amazing way for them and all their friends to join in in creating one huge collaborative canvas. For extra fun, why not try using glow in the dark chalk to help their designs truly come to life once night time falls.

Get Baking!

Not necessarily outside, but a great way to get your children to be hands on and creative whilst you still teach them some valuable life skills. Let them do the mixing in the bowl, pouring into bun trays or even put them in the oven (with your supervision of course!) so your child can feel proud of their creation. If you’re baking some cupcakes, let your children decorate them how they want, or, if you’re feeling extra special, pick a theme and challenge them to design a whole series of cakes based around your idea. Look here for child friendly baking recipes.

“Nothing beats transporting ourselves to faraway lands meeting weird and wonderful creates along the way”.

Build a Den

It could be as extravagant as a big hideout in the woods, or as a simple as a sofa cushion castle in the living room, but building a den is a great way for your child to start thinking scientifically, teach them to work in a team and still enjoying themselves whilst working towards a finished goal. Not only that, dens are fantastic for the imagination, and could even become a part of a scene in their very own movie if you manage to tie together a few outdoor activities.

At our house, we love to dress up, and have countless adventures dressed in our favourite costumes around the park, woods, field or even just our home. Nothing beats transporting ourselves to faraway lands meeting weird and wonderful creates along the way.

What games do your children enjoy to play? We’d love to hear what your house does for a TV free adventure.

Article and photos courtesy of Tom Charles.

Does the following situation sound familiar to you? You decide to manifest something important to you, perhaps a new job that will provide more income or a greater sense of alignment with your values. You commit to various manifestation techniques, such as creative visualization and scripting. Remaining focused on the outcome, you take inspired action and let go of any fear or negativity that bubbles to the surface.

After consistent effort, you manifest the coveted job! Initially, you are elated by this gift from the Universe. But after some time in the new position, you start to feel that old sense of dissatisfaction with where you are. Perhaps the drama you wanted to escape is erupting in the new workplace, or the sense of belonging you were hoping to find has faded in the face of mundane work tasks. You find yourself saying, I got what I asked for, but I’m still not satisfied. Did the Law of Attraction not work properly?

For many people, after they manifest a goal with the Law of Attraction, a sense of dissatisfaction or longing can creep in. When faced with this scenario, many people assume that they made a “mistake” and failed to manifest the right outcome. They rush to refine their techniques, armed with the belief that they can “get it right” with a newfound commitment to the Law of Attraction. As someone who counsels individuals spiritually, I see time and again how clients say they want something—a better job, a fulfilling relationship, or more money—that they believe will fulfill them in some way. But once they have attained their goal, their joy often evaporates, slowly replaced by dissatisfaction.

 

“To be true to ourselves, we need to let go of defense mechanisms and pieces of ourselves that hold us back. ”

What’s really going on? Instead of questioning your manifestation skills, consider instead that sometimes we do not always know what will bring us true happiness. One of the principal tenets of the Law of Attraction is that you need to get clear on what you want. So very often, though, our mind tells us we want one thing, when in fact our heart—our authentic self, if you will—wants something else. We think we are clear on what’s best for us, but that clarity is sometimes an illusion. Working with the Law of Attraction thus creates a conundrum: the tool that can best help us manifest our most fulfilling desires—our mind—is also the very mechanism that keeps us from connecting with what we truly want.

Why does the mind do this and what can we do about it? One reason that we run into trouble is that manifesting what would make us truly happy—what our authentic self wants most for us—often takes a lot of risk. To be true to ourselves, we need to let go of defense mechanisms and pieces of ourselves that hold us back. Most people’s psychic lives are built around several core issues of lovability, belonging, and worthiness. As a result, when we set out to manifest our goals, our mind often subconsciously steers us away from anything that might trigger those core issues. To protect us from pain, rejection, and humiliation, our well-meaning mind often ends up protecting us from our most authentic expression. The mind simply does not know any better, because it is deploying its defense mechanisms.  So we choose a job that might seem right on the surface when the job that would really light us up unconsciously scares us too much.

 

 

“Anybody who wants to work successfully with the Law of Attraction needs to develop or deepen a silent meditation practice. It is very hard to know your heart’s desire when you are distracted by mental chatter.”

Another, closely related reason is that we often inherit our sense of purpose from someone else (usually a parent) or base it on an existing model that isn’t right for us. We may have known early on in life what our purpose was, but as time went on, it got buried under belief systems and patterns that we inherited from family, friends, and teachers. As a result, we conform our lives to a model or paradigm that may have worked for someone else but actually limits us. We might even subconsciously devalue what would make us authentically happy because we strive to become what a parent or society tells us would be valuable and practical. For example, perhaps you wanted to be an artist, to heal and enliven others with artwork, but you became a doctor instead because it more easily fit the paradigm of a healer.

Another, exceptionally powerful technique is to thank the mind for all of its assistance. Express gratitude for your own ego! We often thank the Universe for our lives, but we rarely thank our own minds. By acknowledging the ego and its well-meaning efforts to take care of us as best as it knows how, we can gently encourage it to soften and step aside. Thank your mind for getting you this far, and then set the intention that both you and your ego be guided by your authentic self. Regularly thanking your mind will lessen the grip of your defense mechanisms and allow those deeper desires to come through. When you meditate and thank the mind for its efforts, you may be surprised at what kinds of goals and wishes suddenly arise. When they do, act on them, and you’ll strengthen your connection with your authentic self.

 

“You will soon discover that discovering the truth about yourself is the most rewarding manifestation of all.”

This is just the start to letting go of the mind’s efforts to distract us from the authentic self and what would truly make us happy. Does this mean we have to delay our efforts to manifest until we have figured out who we really are? Not at all. Instead, approach your efforts as an invitation to learn about your heart’s desires, not as a test of your manifestation skills. Regard with healthy skepticism what your mind says you should manifest and treat your work with the Law of Attraction as a journey toward your true self. That journey might seem like a meandering path, not a direct route, to a final destination. When you manifest something that ends up not being deeply satisfying, acknowledge that you are still learning about who you really are and start again. As you learn to peel away the layers that mask your true self, you will start to manifest powerfully, in alignment with your authentic self. You will soon discover that discovering the truth about yourself is the most rewarding manifestation of all.

Patrick Paul Garlinger is the author of When Thought Turns to Light: A Practical Guide to Spiritual Transformation (2016), and Seeds of Light: Channeled Transmissions on the Christ Consciousness (2017)He lives and works in New York City, where he works with clients to understand their true self and release the past so that they can live authentically. He does not subscribe to any particular religious doctrine but believes that we are all connected to the same source of unconditional love. To learn more, please visit Patrick’s website.

Have you written a letter to your future self before? Back in the early 2010s, I came across the Yahoo! Time Capsule, where users could contribute to a digital legacy of how life was in 2006, which would be opened at a later date. I then came up with the idea of writing a letter to your future self, where you write a personal note to your future self, seal it, and then open it at a future date. There are no restrictions on how far you should project your letter to — you can write to your future self 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, or even 10 years from now!

Why Write a Letter To Your Future Self?

Doing this exercise can be a really insightful experience.

Imagine writing to your future self 5 years from now — what would you say? What kind of person would you be? What goals would you want to have achieved? Not only is it mind boggling, but it gets you thinking about your goals 5 years from now. As you write your letter, you will start to think about the actions you should take to realize them in your expected time frame.

Subsequently when you open your letter 5 years down the road, you get to assess the things that match (or don’t match) up vs. your expectations, and reflect why that’s the case. Often times, our goals are subject to a lot of changes due to unanticipated circumstances and changing priorities.

Reading your letter lets you see how your life trajectory has changed since writing it. It also makes you pause and think about how you are doing, and whether you are where you want to be in life.

In addition, when you write your letter, your consciousness and thoughts are stored in your words. When you read it, it’s like you are being contacted by the old you. It provides you a different perspective and lets you see how much you have changed since then. 🙂

“Reading your letter lets you see how your life trajectory has changed since writing it. It also makes you pause and think about how you are doing, and whether you are where you want to be in life.”

How to Write Your Letter

While you can write to your future self from any time period, I recommend to start with a one year time frame. This way, it’s easier to envision your goals, and it also gives you a comfortable time frame to take action.

Refer to today’s date.

1. Imagine writing to your future self exactly a year from now. What do you want to say to him/her? Some consideration points:

    • What do you want to be one year from now?
    • What are the goals and dreams you want realized by then?
    • What is your desired status for the areas on your life wheel? Career/Business/Studies? Money/Wealth? Family? Friends? Love? Health? Spirituality? Recreation? Contribution? Self-Image?

2. Once you’re done, sign off with your name and today’s date.

3. Keep your letter in a safe place.

    • Put the papers in an envelope. Seal it.
    • On the cover, write “To [Your Name]. To be opened on [Date].” Replace “[Your Name]” with your name, with “[Date]” the date that’s one year from now.
    • Set an appointment in your calendar to open your letter one year from now.
    • Put this envelope in a safe place where no one can access it.

4. In this one year, work hard on your goals and vision! Then open and read your letter one year from today. 🙂

 

“It made me appreciate how far I have come. It made me look forward to the future.”

For your letter format, you can either write a physical letter or type it. I used to write my letters using pen and paper, but I’ve since switched to typing and printing the final copy (this way I have a backup if anything happens).

You can use FutureMe.org, a service that helps you send your message to your desired email address at any point in the future. Personally I recommend to write your letter on your computer and store it, rather than using such a service. With an external service, you never know who has access to your letters, and your letter will be gone if the service gets shut down.

Opening My Letter From My Past Self

Back in 2008, on February 10, I wrote two letters to myself. The first letter was to my future self one year from then, on February 10, 2009. The second letter was to my future self 5 years later, on February 10, 2013.

A year later on February 10, 2009, I opened my first letter. It was interesting seeing what I was like in the past and how much I have changed. One of the biggest changes was my materialistic tendencies. While I was not a very materialistic person when I wrote my letter in 2008 (I was 23 years old then), I became less materialistic since, given my revelations on my relationship with material wealth and goods. My consciousness was also higher as I had been working a lot on my growth.

In terms of goals, I had reached and exceeded several goals:

  • For Health, I correctly predicted that I would still be vegetarian and loving every minute of it.
  • Weight-wise, I had reached my desired weight/look, something I was really proud of as losing weight was something that I had struggled with for years.
  • For Career, I leaped ahead of my predictions — in my letter, I predicted that I would still be working in my ex-company while working on my purpose on the side. As it turned out, I had quit my job and started working on my purpose full time! 🙂

 

“There were goals that I didn’t reach as I abandoned them halfway, because they lost meaning to me.”

There were some goals I had not reached yet. For example for Love, I thought that I would have found my relationship partner by then, but I had not. This wasn’t an issue as I came to the realization that we are already perfect as singles (I would later meet my soulmate, now husband in 2013). In terms of Friendship, some friends whom I thought I would still be on great terms with had slipped away. Instead, I formed great friendships with other people in the past year. In a way, it’s like a natural equilibrium — when you let go of certain old connections, new connections will take their place.

There were goals that I didn’t reach as I abandoned them halfway, because they lost meaning to me. An example, buying a car. When I received a pay rise last year and was able to consider getting a car, I realized that owning a car in Singapore, where public transport is readily available, does not resonate with my highest self. My original intent of getting a car was more for image reasons — which is true for many car owners in Singapore — and that desire had long been shed, along with my old self. Not to mention, having a car isn’t exactly environmentally friendly.

All in all, reading my letter made me realize several things. It made me more conscious of how I have changed vs. the past (vs. just relying on memory). It reminded me of some of my past visions that I lost track of along the way. It made me appreciate how far I have come. It made me look forward to the future. 😀

Subsequently, I opened my 5-year letter and share my results in here: Writing a Letter to Your Future Self [Video]

Write Your Letter To Your Future Self

Grab your pen and paper now and start writing your letter to your future self! Identify a time period to write to, imagine what you would be like, and then start writing! Think about the kind of person you would like to be, what you would want to be doing, what you would have accomplished by then, and so on.

Follow the steps in the exercise above. Get working on your goals, then open your letter with pride a year from now! 🙂

 

celest2new

Check out more great content from Celestine Chua at her site Personal Excellence. Don’t forget to check out her Facebook as well. 

 

“Take Evening Primrose, they say. It really balances your system. WTF?”

I never used to really get PMS. Maybe a bit of a sore boob, or a little extra teary but not this. This is next level psycho shit.

These days it starts about two days after I lay an egg and continues right the way through, leaving a trail of destruction and weepy apologies in its path. It’s bloating, it’s monster cans no one can touch because a) they hurt and b) get the hell away from me, all served with a great big jar of don’t fuck with me.

What manner of design flaw is this?

As if having to push a watermelon out of your vagootz to propagate the human race is not insanity enough, you have to suffer for 40 years for the privilege.

Often, these monster irrits are directed with laser-like beams at my partner because he’s annoying and often asking for it. An inability to read my mind, domestic blindness, chewing too loudly, you know the stuff I mean.

In fact, the audible chewing is usually the giveaway that tips me off that I’m on a one-way train to Psychoville. Usually, I can’t hear a single jot of mastication but suddenly the bursting hormones give me hyper-sensitive hearing. I can hear a bite of toast from 30 paces and don’t even think about slurping a coffee in the next room.

My poor man lives on egg shells for a solid week and although sometimes I’m sure he’d love to crack up laughing at my irrationality, he also cherishes his knackers too much to let that shit happen. So, more often than not he sweetly nods and tries to weather the storm whilst always holding a protective hand over his jewels.

The kids cop a fair whack of it too. I mean, they can be profoundly annoying when you’re not jacked to the eyeballs with crazy hormone juice. Add some not putting shoes on in a timely fashion, arsing around at dinner and incessant bickering and Mama is a ticking time bomb just waiting to yell until the neighbour’s windows rattle.

“In fact, the audible chewing is usually the giveaway that tips me off that I’m on a one-way train to Psychoville. ”

This is not a situation that is unique to me, there are squillions of monthly psychos out there. It really is amazing that there aren’t more homicides by women using the monthlies as their defense.

We make lots of jokes about PMS and stuff but what we don’t hear about that much is that it feels really shit from the inside too.

You know that realistically you’re picking at minuscule scabs turning them into sores or behaving like a raving lunatic but you simply cannot help it. The words are out of your wicked mouth before you have time to control them. PMS actually stands for Petulant Mouth Syndrome.

Also, everyone must remember that your anger and irritability is COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED. It is not merely PMS induced psychosis. It’s that PMS has taken away your coping mechanisms of ignoring all the shit that drives you wild.

Do not, I repeat, do not ever suggest that I am just PMSing. Well, not if you like your face arranged in its current shape or no spit in your food.

Take Evening Primrose, they say. It really balances your system. WTF? There is not enough Evening Primrose in the world to calm these screwball emotions. I tried mega dosage, slow release Vitamin B that cost the national debt to purchase at the fancy “wellness” store.

When did it stop being a health food shop and start being a “wellness” store, by the way? Probably when we stopped simply “calling” each other and started “reaching out.”

Anyway, I reached out to the wellness store and they told me what I needed so I thought we’d have this little issue sorted poste-haste. Alas, I did not note an iota of difference, except daily fluorescent pee that would light up a disco (or at least a darkened spin class which is as close to a nightclub as I get these days.)

So really, this is it for the next 10 or so years. Every month we batten down the hatches and pray for blood. When the river finally runs the tide turns, if you catch my drift, and everyone can breathe easy for another two weeks or so.

Luckily, I’m pretty sweet natured the rest of the time so I guess really if you’re someone who loves scary roller-coaster at theme parks, we’re going to get along fine. My body is a Wonderland.

“Do not, I repeat, do not ever suggest that I am just PMSing. Well, not if you like your face arranged in its current shape or no spit in your food”.

Anyway, I reached out to the wellness store and they told me what I needed so I thought we’d have this little issue sorted poste-haste. Alas, I did not note an iota of difference, except daily fluorescent pee that would light up a disco (or at least a darkened spin class which is as close to a nightclub as I get these days.)

So really, this is it for the next 10 or so years. Every month we batten down the hatches and pray for blood. When the river finally runs the tide turns, if you catch my drift, and everyone can breathe easy for another two weeks or so.

Luckily, I’m pretty sweet natured the rest of the time so I guess really if you’re someone who loves scary roller-coaster at theme parks, we’re going to get along fine. My body is a Wonderland.

I never used to really get PMS. Maybe a bit of a sore boob, or a little extra teary but not this. This is next level psycho shit.

These days it starts about two days after I lay an egg and continues right the way through, leaving a trail of destruction and weepy apologies in its path. It’s bloating, it’s monster cans no one can touch because a) they hurt and b) get the hell away from me, all served with a great big jar of don’t fuck with me.

What manner of design flaw is this?

As if having to push a watermelon out of your vagootz to propagate the human race is not insanity enough, you have to suffer for 40 years for the privilege.

Often, these monster irrits are directed with laser-like beams at my partner because he’s annoying and often asking for it. An inability to read my mind, domestic blindness, chewing too loudly, you know the stuff I mean.

In fact, the audible chewing is usually the giveaway that tips me off that I’m on a one-way train to Psychoville. Usually, I can’t hear a single jot of mastication but suddenly the bursting hormones give me hyper-sensitive hearing. I can hear a bite of toast from 30 paces and don’t even think about slurping a coffee in the next room.

My poor man lives on egg shells for a solid week and although sometimes I’m sure he’d love to crack up laughing at my irrationality, he also cherishes his knackers too much to let that shit happen. So, more often than not he sweetly nods and tries to weather the storm whilst always holding a protective hand over his jewels.

The kids cop a fair whack of it too. I mean, they can be profoundly annoying when you’re not jacked to the eyeballs with crazy hormone juice. Add some not putting shoes on in a timely fashion, arsing around at dinner and incessant bickering and Mama is a ticking time bomb just waiting to yell until the neighbour’s windows rattle.

Article and photo courtesy of Danielle at Keeping Up With the Holsbys. Check her out on Facebook and Instagram.

To let your kids’ play in dirt, or to not let your kids’ play in the dirt; that is the question. Maggie Dent, an acclaimed parenting guru, suggests that kids should be getting back to playing in nature as there are so many benefits for kids’ playing outside rather than their lives’ being dominated by technology.

If you were to mention the name Maggie Dent in parenting circles chances are someone would have subscribed to her values, heard her on radio, attended a seminar or read one of her five books in the quest for answers on how to survive in the world of parenting.

Maggie could never be accused of tiptoeing around the truth. She holds strong on her values and isn’t afraid to voice them. And while her work touches a vast array of issues across the parenting spectrum, from homework and education, emotional development, bullying and suicide, gender differences, play, crisis management and building resilience, her heart never wavers from its true ambition of helping parents raise happy and healthy kids in the modern world.

When Offspring spoke with Maggie she straight up offered to let us in on a secret. A little secret about raising children. All ears tuned in and we waited with baited breath. She may have ensnared a copy of that mythological user manual that failed to be handed out to us when our children were born.

“The secret is dirt,” Maggie quips. And we suspect she quite enjoyed our initial state of confusion. “Dirt, and lots of it.”

“The secret is dirt, and lots of it.”

Could it really be that simple? In her familiar, passionate, banter Maggie went on to explain through her seventeen years of teaching in Western Australian schools and then working as a counsellor, as well as raising four boys into happy and well rounded young men, that the real secret to raising kids is to let them play, explore and have fun while allowing them the chance to make mistakes, get dirty and occasionally get hurt.

“Today’s modern lifestyles, full of game consoles, social media and television is having a consequence on our children’s development and kids as young as five are suffering clinical depression and anxiety disorders,” Maggie explains.

“We have created a world so busy, so competitive and an education system so focused on academic results that we are providing our children with fewer and fewer opportunities for unstructured play. We are diminishing their freedom to just be kids.”

Without hesitation Maggie finger-points NAPLAN testing as well as compulsory starts to pre-primary years as some of the main catalysts.

“We now have a world full of information available at our finger tips but we rely on Google instead of instinct.”

“The irony is that 20 years ago children were turning up to Year One better prepared and with less learning delays, stress and anxiety related illnesses and hyper-sensitive behaviours than the children of today. We now have a world full of information available at our finger tips but we rely on Google instead of instinct and sweeping national standards of achievement rather than tuning into the individual child,” she says.

“We spend so much time trying to safely guide our children and prevent bad things from happening to them that we are dissolving their ability to judge risk for themselves which ironically sets them up for disaster in this unpredictable world.”

Buoyant with enthusiasm, Maggie divulges how play teaches us to learn to wait, to take turns, to develop the art of strategy, to lose and to win graciously. It’s also fantastic exercise and can reduce stress.

 

Perhaps most importantly, unstructured play stimulates our curiosity, our “seeking mechanism”. An under-active seeking mechanism in adulthood can contribute to a person staying stuck in an unloving relationship, or a boring and soulless job. And no one wants to sign their child up for that!

“If we, as parents, teachers, indeed, as a society, don’t start taking play more seriously and allow our children to take a few risks, we are denying them the opportunity to be resilient human beings,” and the sense of urgency in her voice is clear.

Sadly, the problem doesn’t discriminate – country or city, outback or coast – somewhere over the last ten years parenting became a competition with the perception of having to be a perfect parent and also having the perfect child. This in turn is increasing anxiety in our kids.

“I have never met a perfect human being so why do we pressure our kids to be exceptional and perfect? There is no perfect child, parent or teacher. There never was nor will be. Humans have flaws,” she says.

“If we, as parents, teachers, indeed, as a society, don’t start taking play more seriously and allow our children to take a few risks, we are denying them the opportunity to be resilient human beings.”

So are we doomed or is there a solution? Maggie assures us all is not lost.

“Children need to know they are valued and loved. Feeling invisible or unloved causes enormous stress to a child’s nervous system. Often children can become emotionally needy and anxious about getting the love they yearn,” she says.

 

“Remember, children do not see all the cooking, washing and cleaning as signs of love and connection. To feel loved, children need to hear the words, have loving touch and know that you are ‘present’ to them.”

It sounds easy. But in reality parents are busy people. Many parents work or have a litany of demands upon them and limited capacity to play without time constraint. An excuse maybe, but for many, this is reality.

“Anyone with young children in their household needs to make play a priority,” Maggie is staunch on this point. “Spontaneous moments of connection are more valuable to a child than timetabled quality time.”

You can put your diary down.

Somewhere over the last ten years parenting became a competition with the perception of having to be a perfect parent and also having the perfect child.

Often the only time in our busy days, when we can really relax, focus and connect with our children is at bedtime. Perfect. Maggie describes how following a loving bedtime ritual every night is an extremely powerful way of anchoring your love for your child and reducing anxiety.

Maggie gives the tip that the last thing your child should hear every night before entering the land of nod is how much you love them and fostering the concept of a love that transcends all boundaries and absences. A concept she has aptly named a love bridge.

“I always told my boys ‘I love you more than all the grains of sand on every beach, more than all the stars in the night sky and more than all the hairs on all the bears’ and they still remember it,” she says.

“It’s about creating a sense of connection even in absence. For children, particularly under four years, repeating the concept nightly and planting the idea of the enormity of your love can create an almost tangible sense that you are always with them.”

 

“Spontaneous moments of connection are more valuable to a child than timetabled quality time.”

The love bridge can do wonders for anxiety in children (and alleviate some parental guilt for times when you can not be with them).

Are you ready for another secret? It’s about presence not presents. With Christmas just around the corner, Maggie reminds us that children are naturally creative thinkers and don’t need the latest fancy toys to predict and channel their play, instead the best gift would be spending time together discovering, playing and making magical memories. That might mean going away on holidays together or just spending time at home.

“It’s important not to be swayed by advertising and commercial pressures and enjoy a little of the magic that comes but once a year.”

Maggie’s best piece of advice?

“Have fun and spend as much time as you can with your child in the first three foundation years because children who experience joy and delight through free play are psychologically stronger and a have greater capacity to overcome adversity in the adolescent years.”

Being a mother often means that you need to give up the things that you love, but these mums have found a way to still be mums do what they love – Surfing!

At first glance they look like any other surfers, bobbing up and down on their boards waiting patiently for the next decent wave. But scan your gaze back to the beach and you’ll soon see the difference, there’s more than a beach towel waiting on the sand for this surfing clan – in fact there’s a brood. Meet Perth’s Surfing Mums – a dedicated group of women who share a passion for surfing and parenting, and see no reason why the two can’t be combined.

It’s not a new phenomenon; the first Surfing Mums group started in Byron Bay with two new mums who were feeling a little lost. They were brought together by their love of surfing and the frustration at having to now sit on the beach with their babies just watching the waves. So they started to meet on a regular basis, taking turns to look after each other’s children while the other went surfing.

Word quickly spread and the idea moved from State to State, and now there are 15 Surfing Mums groups nationally, comprising Surfing Mums Australia.

In 2008 the group became an incorporated association, so members pay either an annual or half-yearly fee and are fully covered by public liability insurance.

The mums get together annually in Byron Bay for the group’s annual general meeting, which of course also factors in plenty of time for them to take advantage of the many amazing local breaks.

WA has two main groups in Perth and Geraldton, with Perth’s group comprised of about 20 members who meet each week for surfing and “beach-sitting” duties. Members are encouraged to buddy up and look after each other’s children, who range in age from six weeks to 15 years old, on a one-on-one basis for a designated time period, before swapping babies for boards.

Cara Williams has been a member of Surfing Mums Perth for two years and is now the national secretary, but she says the group has given her far more than just the chance to go surfing.

As a single mum hailing from the east coast, Cara says meeting others who shared her passion for surfing and encouraging a healthy, outdoor lifestyle was an invaluable support for her.

“For me it’s not just a group, I consider these women to be my friends,” Cara says. “It’s such a great support network.”

There is no question that Cara is mad about surfing, she’s been a keen surfer since the age of 15 and her daughter Lacey Lane is named after a surf break in Queensland. After finding out about Surfing Mums from her Mothers Group, Cara says she thought it was too good to be true and quickly joined up when Lacey was just six months old. She’s never looked back.

“Surfing Mums has given me so much, both mentally and physically and I love that we’re teaching our kids to be active throughout life.”

“It’s such a welcoming group of people and I think that attitude comes from our co-ordinator, Claire Romea Gorton, who is now the national president too,” she says. “We just adore her and she encourages a really friendly and non-judgemental environment. Surfing Mums has given me so much, both mentally and physically and I love that we’re teaching our kids to be active throughout life. We’ve got such a great mix of members and there is a range of ages, some in their late forties and one who only learnt to surf when she in her forties but is amazing. But everyone is really passionate about living a healthy, outdoor lifestyle.”

New members are encouraged to join, even if you’re not a skilled surfer or have never surfed before, they can arrange a few lessons before you join the regular weekly meets. Although it’s aimed at mums, the group is not limited to women – dads and carers are also encouraged to come along.

If you’re not in Perth or Geraldton but love the idea, Surfing Mums is also happy to support the formation of new groups.

According to Cara, one of the keys to success is the buddy-up system, so new members feel more comfortable about hitting the water knowing that their child will be well cared for in their absence.

 

“For me it’s not just a group, I consider these women to be my friends,” Cara says. “It’s such a great support network.”

“In order to do it right, the mums pair up so it’s not just a mass of women and children, there is more responsibility and it works well,” she says. “I get to go out and enjoy a surf knowing that Lacey is in good hands. The Perth group generally meets at Trigg in summer and Cottesloe in winter, or wherever the waves are best, as co-ordinated by Claire.” They also take two annual surf trips. One is a closer, long weekend trip where families are encouraged to come along and the other is the main trip, which this year was an all-mums surfing trip to Java. And Cara maintains that “surfing trip” is not just code for a glorified relaxing holiday with cocktails by the pool, these mums mean business. Picture nine women walking through the airport, each with one or two board bags – clothes stuffed in around their beloved boards. This is clearly not a shopping trip.

“We surfed from dawn until dusk, it was amazing,” Cara says. “It’s something that a lot of male surfers have had the opportunity to experience but not a lot of women, especially mums. We got back and pretty much re-booked for a trip in April, with another mum and I even signing ourselves up to learn Indonesian before we head back.”

 

For more information:

www.surfingmums.com